- (idiomatic) Indicating degree, quantity or frequency greater than zero: to the slightest degree, in any way, somewhat, rather.
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii], page 9:
- Here's neither buſh, nor ſhrub to beare off any weather at all: and another Storme brewing, I heare it ſing ith' winde: yond ſame blacke cloud, yond huge one, lookes like a foule bumbard that would ſhed his licquor: if it ſhould thunder, as it did before, I know not where to hide my head: yond ſame cloud cannot chooſe but fall by paile-fuls.
- 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow:
- He did not seem to think that he at all deserved a medal from the Humane and Magnanimous Societies.
- 1865, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?:
- The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig, (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it), he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
- Almost always used in negative sentences. Structures such as nothing at all, not ... any at all, etc. are common.